The Rantings of a Tortured Mind

Valerie Rayne Rants

The Music

All my life, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest (some would say, a passion for) music. From the 2-year-old me, wailing into the microphone, to the 25-year-old me, wailing on Youtube, for the better majority of my life, I have been musically involved and musically influenced.

I sang in my first (and last…) talent show at the encouragement of my teacher, in Grade 2. The first mic didn’t work, the second mic was turned off and by the third mic my face was the color of the outrageously bright flowered dress I was wearing. When the song came on, I couldn’t recognize it and I walked off the risers, tears streaking down my reddened face. I didn’t sing another solo until Grade 11…

But even with the experience behind me, I still went on to sing in choirs every year from Grade 4 to Grade 12 and I even joined the school band in Grade 7 and playing right up until my last days in school. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to pick and choose my instruments on a very experimental basis and ended up delving into the Tuba (for a week), the Classical Drums (for about a month), Bass (about two weeks) and was able to steadily continue to play my chosen instruments.

The Baritone Euphonium (Bass Clef)

I had wanted to play the bassoon my first year of school band, after hearing it highlighted in a production of Peter and the Wolf. Alas, in Grade 7, they did not have bassoons. But, my wonderful music teacher remembered that he had just gotten a brand new instrument in and thought it would be perfect for me, as I did not want to play the standard clarinet, flute, trumpet or trombone. It was love at first sight.

I played the baritone continuously through Grades 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12, often times being the only bass instrument available for a group of 30 or so kids. What I remember most from playing the baritone was always being yelled at to “PLAY LOUDER!”.

The Bassoon

In Grade 8, after much pleading and begging with this year’s less than wonderful band teacher, I got my hands on a beautiful bassoon. It took awhile for my fingers to adjust from 3 little buttons to an arrangement of keys and holes. But by Grade 9, the bassoon and I were like this (*crosses fingers in demonstration*).  I marveled at the beauty of building the instrument before the reward of hearing the throaty bass it emitted and I missed the moments that I could not play it.

I played the bassoon continuously through Grades 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, again usually being the only bass instrument available. However, I did not get yelled at to play louder and I generally did not need to ask many questions or be given many instructions.

The Guitar

When I wasn’t in band class during Grade 9, I was with my punk-rock-guitar-playing-skateboarding boyfriend. At the age of 14, there was nothing more that I wanted to do than to rock out with my boyfriend (on guitar or in bed). Power chords, he taught me. The rest of it, I taught me.

I am, what I like to call, a slacker guitarist. I often play guitar the lazy way and haven’t tried to learn anything new since I learnt what I need to know. It’s not because that’s the kind of guitarist I want to be, it’s just that that’s the kind of guitarist I am… Apparently.

Guitar opened up the world of songwriting to me, inspiring me to not only play but sing at the same time – which took me forever and a day to learn how to do. And it’s one of my favorite things to do, even though I don’t get to do it nearly as much as I’d like to. Check out some of my videos below and then subscribe to me on YouTube.

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